Posts Tagged ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’

“Global” Campaigns & The Ultimate Driving Machine

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

My last post regarding BMW’s new campaign resulted in a few conversations with colleagues that were interesting and got me thinking about the challenges associated with marketing a global automotive brand and the concept of a global campaign.

Virtually every automotive brand is global.  Not every brand is marketed in every country but I can’t think of any that are sold only in their country of origin.  That means that every manufacturer must be concerned with what their respective brands stand for in each country in which they are distributed.  Obviously, it is in the manufacturers’ interest to have their brands positioned in the same way from country to country.  Customers and prospects should recognize the brands no matter where in the world they come into contact with them.

Of course the real world is not quite this neat and tidy.  Brands have developed in different ways in different countries, so for some manufacturers it’s a challenge just to get their colleagues around the world on the same page regarding the brand’s core values.  In my experience we do pretty well when we concern ourselves with the strategic underpinnings of the brand, where things fall apart is when execution of the strategy is considered.

There seem to be two basic approaches to execution, each with its own set of plusses and minuses:


BMW & Joy: “Danger Will Robinson”

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

It has a feeling of inevitability attached to it, but still, I can’t help but feel let down.  For years many of us have held up BMW as the example of a car company that understands its brand and sticks to it. That all just changed. BMW is no longer the manufacturer of The Ultimate Driving Machine, according to this commercial “at BMW, we don’t just make cars, we make joy.”:

The longest running and probably best known automotive industry positioning line has been thrown in the bin in favor of “Joy.”  I’m conflicted. On one hand, I’m shocked and I really believe that BMW has made a horrific mistake, but on the other hand, there are aspects of this new campaign that I like.

“The new “Joy” campaign ‘is a big departure for us,’ said Jack Pitney, vice president of marketing for BMW North America. ‘We hope to really add some humanity to our brand’ and show the diversity of its buyers,”Wall Street Journal 2/15/10

In fact, what I like about the commercial is the humanity.  It’s fun to watch people enjoying life in and around their BMWs.  To see enthusiast communities enjoying their passions together.  To see all kinds of people, some even like me, joined together by a common bond created by a car.  It is truly what makes great automotive brands great, that sense of being part of something bigger than you are.


Will the BMW brand lose its focus too?

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

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This article in today’s New York Times got me thinking about BMW and its brand:

I think that just about anyone could argue pretty convincingly that of all the imported luxury marques, BMW has done the best job of sticking to its positioning over the long term.  Encapsulated by “The Ultimate Driving Machine,”  BMW has year after year developed and sold products that live up to this brand standard.  The marketing has also been remarkably consistent in supporting the brand positioning.

So it was encouraging to read in the NY Times that BMW is serious about maintaining its independence and at some level is rejecting the industry’s argument that “scale” is critical to success.  What a crime it would be if BMW ended up married to someone else, sharing parts and technologies and the products became less distinct.  I hope the same applies to their view of their brand positioning and marketing.